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Thursday, Oct. 7, 2004 07:23 pm

now playing 10-7-04

art1465

At the very real risk of slipping into the credibility-robbing practice of using a public forum to shamelessly self-promote, here I go.

This Sunday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. (8 p.m. sharp, you slackers), we -- that is, Tom Irwin and the Hired Hands -- intend to celebrate 10 years of performing (almost) every Sunday at the Brewhaus. The popular watering hole opened on Oct. 14, 1994, way back when ladies of the night ("hookers," to all you slangsters) were a common sight on the corner of Sixth and Washington streets and the Fifth Street Strip was merely a drunkard's dream and a developer's desire.

Downtown has changed immensely in the last 10 years. The Brewhaus now stands in the shadow of the nearly completed Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Every weekend, Fifth Street from Washington to Monroe is filled with young revelers in various stages of intoxication, and you must travel farther east to find corner workers. But through it all we've managed to show up nearly every Sunday night around 10 o'clock, start by 10:30, go until midnight, take a half-hour break, and play until 1 a.m.

We celebrated 300 Sundays a few years back on a cold day in January and honored the numerous musicians who have graced the stage as walk-ons, invitees, openers, intruders, and regulars. There have been three CD-release parties: Cornstock '99, Travel On in 2001, and Live from Brewhaus last year. I always liked to kid my dad, who sipped a Guinness while wearing his notorious black cowboy hat, that this was the steadiest job I ever had, playing music in a tavern. And play music is what we have done. For most of the Sundays, drummer Reggie Britton, with the wise and wonderful Raoul and the one-and-only Dooley on electric guitars, have made it to the stage. Our bass players have formed a triumvirate of sorts, with Keith Voegele as the official hired hand, Chris Warren of Black Magic Johnson on constant call, and Bruce Williams of NIL8 a former first-stringer and now hall-of-fame sub. These guys form the nucleus of the Notorious Hired Hands, and I want to thank them for the many years of great music.

Tom Irwin and the Hired Hands celebrate 10 years at the Brewhaus (617 E. Washington St., 525-6399) at 8 p.m. Oct. 10.

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